Good music is a huge part to the success of film, even if we don't always notice it. Usually, the score stays in the background, and adds to the emotion or intensity of a scene. There are some times, however, where the directors decide to throw in something different. Instead of a score crafted for the film, they utilize pop music to either make a scene funny or that much more epic. Superhero films are no exception, and here are the five best uses of popular music used in the scores of superhero films.
5. 'Iron Man' 'Back in Black' 'Shoot to Thrill' -Black Sabbath, AC/DC
Iron Man trilogy
Tony Stark always has a grand entrance up his sleeve, and a song to match. Rock band AC/DC contributed several songs to the first two films and Avengers: Assemble, as did Black Sabbath with its "Iron Man". It augmented Stark's rebellious, unorthodox style. It also brings out the super-star aspect to Iron Man as a superhero, in a cool way. It wasn't just used as score. We see Iron Man hacking the Quinjet's radio in order to announce his arrival with "Shoot to Thrill" in Avengers. We see Tony Stark liking this music, and using it show up in style. And let's be honest, when you have a song titled "Iron Man", it's hard not to include it.
4. Awesome Mix Vol. 1 -Various Artists
Guardians of the Galaxy
With songs like "Hooked on a Feeling", "O-o-h Child", and the one you see above: "I Want you Back", Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was more pop music than score it seemed. Well, pop music from the 1980's. Who can forget the almost dance-off between Star-Lord and Ronan, with Chris Pratt singing. Like Iron Man, the songs in the film are Peter Quill's personal favorites, and they follow his character progression as much as they fill in the empty spaces. Who doesn't like a little throwback tune every now and again?
3. 'Party Man' -Prince
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why the 1989 rendition of the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson) is the best. Not only is this song crazy, this scene is. I couldn't find a good video of the Clown Prince of Crime running through the art museum due to copyright issues, but anyone who has seen Batman will attest to the utter absurdity that we see. One of the best scenes of the film, it was a masterpiece (no pun intended) of music meeting scene and melding into a perfect, insane combination.
2. 'Star-Spangled Banner' -Francis Scott Key
Dark Knight Rises
Probably my favorite live-action Batman film, Dark Knight Rises boasted several scenes that gave me chills, but this one might have been the greatest. You have Bane's master plan coming into play, right as the police begin to realize what's happening. It's too late, though, and Batman is gone. Combine that horrifying situation with the haunting sound of the "lovely, lovely voice" and the idea of the lyrics applied to the situation. While the other songs on our list are meant to be humorous, this one takes a darker turn.
1. 'Time in a Bottle' -Jim Croce
X-Men: Days of Future Past
What else did you expect to be in first place? Epic, funny, and beautiful, "Time in a Bottle" does nothing but take a cool character, and make him cooler. The semi-ironic lyrics (because what kind of speedster doesn't have enough time?) coupled with Quicksilver's humorous gags and the killer slow motion effects makes for perhaps the best use of pop music in a film, period. At the very least, it made for one of the sweetest scenes in comic book film, and it was certainly the best in the X-Men franchise.
So, did I miss any? I'll admit that I've not seen all superhero films, but, I think that you would have to agree with my list. You don't? Well, let me know in the comments!